A Thorny Mystery Coral Revealed

18 Jun, 2021

Here’s a look at the coral in its full glory, an image published in the current July/August 2021 issue of CORAL Magazine.. This is Galaxea longisepta, now being maricultured in Indonesia for the aquarium trade. Note that many of the polyps are retracted in this photo, allowing the viewer to appreciate the namesake elongate septas of each corallite. Image credit: Vincent Chalias/Bali Aquarium.

So, was your answer to our “Thorny Mystery Coral” correct?

From CORAL Magazine’s Reef Visions, July/August 2021

GALAXEA LONGISEPTA
Bali Aquarium
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
baliaquarium.net
Geographic Origin: Indonesia
Light Level: Low
Flow Level: Low
Care Level: Moderate
Notes: A very rare Galaxea coral currently without a common name. This encrusting coral is currently being maricultured in Bali. It is a fragile coral, and its corallites are easily damaged. It inhabits turbid water and will benefit from feeding.

More, from Bali Aquarium’s Vincent Chalias

“I don’t believe these corals are as aggressive as the common Green Galaxea [usually identified as Galaxea fascicularis],” wrote Chalias when discussing this coral for the Reef Visions feature. “I haven’t seen any long sweeper tentacles on them, but I don’t remember observing them at night, yet.” Given that coral warfare often happens under the cloak of darkness, aquarists who are lucky enough to receive this very unusual coral would be wise to play it safe and still give it a wide berth until its aggression level can be fully ascertained.

Galaxea longisepta is a study in shades of yellow and green.
Galaxea longisepta is a study in shades of yellow and green. Image credit: Vincent Chalias/Bali Aquarium.

How rare is this coral? “I have never seen this coral anywhere else,” shared Chalias. “But many people don’t like Galaxea…” Indeed, despite their easy care and generally good growth rates, the aggressive tendencies of the commonly available varieties tend to keep them out of many aquariums, and have perhaps curtailed exploration into collecting and keeping other species.

“I’m always up to change the perspective of a coral,” Chalias said. Even if this coral ultimately proves to have the aggressive capabilities of its commonplace relatives, one could argue that the unique coloration and structure of this species still warrant consideration, particularly if you’re into offbeat, unusual corals.

Elongated corallites are equally matched by long polyp tentacles. Image credit: Vincent Chalias/Bali Aquarium

Be sure to watch every issue of CORAL Magazine for our REEF VISIONS column, where we highlight extraordinary marine life spotted in the current marine aquarium trade.

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About the author

Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC & CORAL Magazines, and is a Sr. Editor and Publishing Partner with Aquatic Media Press, LLC & AMAZONAS Magazine. Matt has kept aquariums for 38 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized with the 2009 MASNA Award as the MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

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